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Johannes Erath’s staging of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera from Munich is also told in flashback, this time by Riccardo. It is equally as alienating as the Baden-Baden Traviata, though this time we get a more considered and developed concept. In its monochromatic pre-war setting the production looks glamorous and slick, and seemingly depicts a dream world in which Riccardo watches his own life and death as controlled by Ulrica. It’s slightly awkward, as some elements are realistic (characters overhearing things when hidden by curtains) and some not (characters not overhearing things when shrieked by seemingly invisible characters standing just feet away). A bed remains centre stage, so the Act II duet is sung while hubby slumbers next to the lovers. Zubin Mehta’s conducting provides some substance to the style. As Riccardo, Piotr Beczala is a dashing and vocally elegant protagonist; Anja Harteros intially sounds edgy as Amelia before hitting her considerable stride; and Romanian baritone George Petean is a good if slightly small-scaled Renato. Interesting, but not a classic.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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